I’m currently apartment hunting. Every unit looks the same until you really start to consider the ones you want to live in. From subtle differences in the layout, proximity to the elevator, price, or, in the case of my wife, natural lighting. These details are what set your apartment apart from the rest.

Similar statements can be made about planning an advertising campaign. The general structure of every media plan is the same for all agencies. Basically, it’s a spreadsheet that includes details about the media channel and advertisement placement, pricing information, quantities, and various metrics and KPIs. It’s not until you take a closer look that the differences between media plans become noticeable – columns tailored to meet advertisers’ needs, details included or omitted based on reporting preferences, and information required for ad servers.

The Challenge of Media Plan Templates

For years, media directors and agency heads have spent countless hours building and refining templates only to have it break once deployed in the frenetic world of media buying. The need to rearrange, add, or remove columns combined with honest mistakes, data entry errors and stupefied formulas lead to incorrect figures that leave you sifting through cells trying to figure out where it went wrong. That’s assuming you catch the error before sending it off.

This mayhem is compounded by the inability to protect a consistent structure. Before you know it, there are numerous versions of the template floating around the agency. The differences between versions make it difficult to troubleshoot the template when problems arise. Reports are also inconsistent because the format of reference material varies.

No matter how well designed, no singular template will ever work for an entire agency. Advertisers each have their own preferences and KPIs. Advertising campaigns are like snowflakes, no two are alike.

The flexibility to customize and tweak media plans is essential, but it needs to be done in a way that preserves consistency. Picklist columns in Bionic Media Planning Software make it easy to tailor your media plans without worrying about breaking your formulas or ruining your reports.

What are Picklists?

Picklists are custom columns that include a set of values from which to select. Once created, picklists save time while increasing accuracy and uniformity by allowing the entire media team to select from a menu of preset values rather than entering it from scratch at the risk of typos and incompatible language.

Here are three examples of picklists in a Bionic media plan:

Bionic Sample Picklists

New picklists can be easily created and their specified values are stored in Bionic.

Picklists are a step in the right direction, but the potential for consistency and management issues linger, particularly when values are being entered willy-nilly. This is like getting the apartment you wanted, then having guests come over and leave a mess.

Bionic’s upgrade introduces three enhancements that address this issue.

Manage All Your Picklists in One, Convenient Place

Bionic Picklist Admin Tab

After you’ve been using Bionic for a while, it’s likely that you and your team has created dozens of custom picklists for various situations. Managing all of these shouldn’t be a chore. Bionic provides a new administrator console that enables you to centrally manage and monitor the use of picklists.

Getting there takes just three clicks from anywhere in Bionic:

  1. Click on your company name in the top right
  2. Click Administration
  3. Click the Picklist Columns tab

Lock Picklists

Anyone who has ever tried to mandate media planning standards knows that allowing anyone to edit a picklist is a risky scenario. Sometimes the picklist options have been set to match client’s specifications or formatted to make uploading to an ad server a snap. In these scenarios, you’ll want to lock the picklist to prevent anyone from breaking the rules.

With the latest software upgrade, Bionic administrators can now lock down your picklists.

Edit and Lock Picklists in Bionic

Only Add Values You Need

Add a Picklist Value

Accidentally created values can quickly make a mess of a well-managed picklist. You’ll now see the above prompt when adding a new value in a picklist to eliminate any accidental additions.

Other enhancements

Bionic ID added to filter

Filters make even the most extensive media plans easy to navigate. Once applied, filters allow you to quickly find, edit, and manage placements that fit the criteria. Bionic ID, the unique number assigned to each placement, is now included in filter options.

Improved Campaigns layout

The February upgrade improved the Advertisers and Campaigns tabs on your home page by introducing search function to efficiently navigate your database. That combined with the follow and unfollow function allowed you to cut through the clutter and allow you to focus on only the items most relevant to you.

The feature was so well received that we’ve carried it over to the campaigns tab located within Advertisers.

Bionic Campaign Menu

Consistent Flexibility Made Easy

Ready to finally get the flexibility you need without sacrificing consistency? Bionic media planning software will provide your media team with dozens of tools they need. Find out what Bionic can do for your agency: http://www.bionic-ads.com/planner/

If you’re already a Bionic customer, you’ll have access to all the new features the next time you login.